California is a beautiful place to be. It’s got great weather, shopping and dining options, but these perks drive up the cost of local real estate. For example, the current average selling price for homes in Orange County is $814,000 according to Trendgraphix, February 2017 data.
Here are some tips to successfully become a homeowner in the Golden State.
Condos Are a First-Time Buyer’s Best Friend
If this is your first time buying a home, or just your first time buying in California, the best way to break into the real estate market is with a condo or townhome. You can find condos in the $300,000s if you’re diligent and stay on top of the current inventory. There’s nothing wrong with starting small to gain equity and save up for a better home, or an even better location. Condos are great starter homes so start your search there.
Work Your Way to the Coast
A good place to start is Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Also known as the Inland Empire, these areas offer much more affordable choices, still within close proximity to Orange and Los Angeles Counties. You can check the average sale price of homes in every city for yourself with First Team Real Estate’s monthly market updates. Covering Los Angeles County, Orange County and the Inland Empire, the market reports will help you familiarize yourself with the cities that offer comparatively affordable homes in Southern California.
Focus on Your Credit—And Saving
The better your credit score, the better your mortgage interest rate. Improving your credit score is critical if you want to afford a home in your dream locale. With a credit score of about 750 and above, you will be able to qualify for the best rates and save yourself thousands over the term of your loan. Saving money isn’t easy, but it’s necessary in order to help break into the California real estate market. Skip your morning coffee run, cook at home, downsize your cable, and do whatever you can to lower your monthly bills. When you pay attention to where all of your pennies are going, it’s much easier to pinpoint where you can afford to cut back.
Research Your Financing Offers
Did you know that SchoolsFirst FCU has a School Employee Mortgage Program featuring competitive rates, low down payments, on-time closing guarantee, discounts and more? Find out more. Team up with an agent and financial professional, and review what you qualify for to better understand what is possible. When you have the support and service you need, it’s easy to make your California real estate dreams a reality.
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Extra Credit provides general information to help improve our Member’s financial lives. Every situation is different, so please contact us for guidance on your specific needs. The advice provided in Extra Credit is not intended to serve as a substitute for speaking to a loan representative, financial advisor, or BALANCE counselor who can help tailor a solution for you.
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